August 8, 2011 (38 yrs. old)
It’s weird when you look back on your life and see how a million tiny decisions lead up to something that feels like fate. Maybe it even IS fate. I don’t know. I probably would never have moved to New York if all of these things didn’t happen. So part of me thinks I was slowly preparing for it, even though I wasn't aware of that.
2000 (28 yrs. old)
1) I had a gorgeous boyfriend who was a partial inspiration for Ronny the Rocker in “Easy Does It”. He was fun, hot, and we didn’t have a whole lot in common. I probably could’ve happily dated him for some time, but after a few months, I broke up with him. It didn’t feel real to me. It felt like we were pretending at being in love, and as fun as that was, it didn’t leave me feeling very fulfilled. I broke up with him. Or he broke up with me. Basically, we shook hands, said “That was fun” and parted ways. I wanted something “More”.
2) I thought I had that something “More” with a guy I’ll just call M. I’d known him for two years and was seriously head-over-heels in love with him, even though I knew he only saw me as a friend. (He’s the inspiration for “Blunder Woman”.) Because of this unhealthy fixation on him, I couldn’t seem to move forward. No other guy compared.
It was Christmas time and we met at a coffee shop to exchange gifts. The snow fell outside in great big flakes, that soft snow that happens in movies where the guy kisses the girl outside. I thought this could happen. I made sure I looked cute in my big scarf and red peacoat.
I gave him a quilt I hand-quilted. It took me weeks and as I quilted I made little wishes for him, wishes for his happiness, for love, for health. (I blush to think of this now.) He liked the quilt, said thanks, and then gave me a book he found in his parents’ basement. He didn’t read it or know anything about it, just, well, it looked old. And then he told me he’d met and proposed to a woman he met just a few weeks before. I said “That’s great!” stumbled out into the snow and never felt as cold as I did on that night.
Later I found out that, like me, he had three or four other ‘very close female friends’, all of us pining for him to love us. All of us thinking we were special. It broke my heart. And worse than that, I was embarrassed to have fallen in love and had a relationship that primarily existed in my head.
2001, (27 yrs. old)
3) In January, I was waitressing at The Sierra Room. It was fine dining with lush velvet curtains, fusion cuisine. I started really learning about food and wine there. In between shifts, I acted in a lot of shows, got together with friends, partied, and came home most nights tipsy and lonely. I lived in a two bedroom apartment in a not-so-good area of town and I was beyond broke. A waiter at the restaurant (Tommy) needed a roommate. We had good chemistry, softly flirtatious, but nothing serious. He said I could move in with him. I sold all my furniture for extra cash since he had a furnished room. I packed my three suitcases, and my computer, and moved into the attic of his very cool apartment. He was training to be a chef, and I started to realize that I was a foodie in the making.
The main thing here is that I sold everything. I was now boyfriend-less, without furniture, and heartbroken. The perfect storm for a writer. The perfect storm for change.
4) In the spring, a friend of mine needed help making a short film. We tooled around Northern Michigan and tried to film this short piece. I was in charge of locations and script. We never finished the piece…it was way harder than I thought it would be, but we’d become friends. In June, he called me in a panic. His sister needed a roommate in her flat in New York City for two months. And she needed a roommate immediately.
June, 2001 (28 yrs. old)
So. I was renting a furnished room, had no relationship, was heartbroken, desperately wanted a new start, and I wanted MORE from life. And I’d just turned 28. 30 was looming. And what was I doing? Did I want to be a waitress my whole life? I could be a waitress anywhere. If I was going to be a waitress…I was going to do it in New York.
I called my friends. I quit my job. I had a going away party where my friends and family came together and donated money to help me start over. I booked a plane, and with about $800, I was ready to make a new start. In New York.
This was it! This was fate! I was going to New York. I’d find my heart’s desire. I’d find true love, my writing career would take off, and I’d live happily ever after. I was made for New York.
What could possibly go wrong?